Schedule Time & Gather Materials
- Each Iteration: 10 Minutes – 4 Hours
Exactly what you need (and what you have on hand to use) will vary, but here is a list of the basic requirements:
- Material for the interface to be drawn or printed on – printer paper, cardstock, or notebook paper
- Simulations of interactions – Sticky notes, overhead projector transparency sheets, dry-erase markers
- The interface’s design – Pencils, pens, markers, colored pencils, etc. (or design software, a printer, and paper)
- Cutting tools – scissors, xacto knife and cutting board
- Adhesives – glue, tape, rubber cement
Carry Out This Method
Determine the specific flow you will be testing. Building a paper prototype of your entire site or app would not be practical.
Since this is not a once-size-fits-all method, we recommend having a look at our Pinterest board for Paper Prototypes for ideas on how to simulate your interface.
Once you have a prototype constructed, you can test interactive elements, the layout, wording, or task flows depending on the level of fidelity. Paper prototypes are especially suited for Guerrilla Usability Test methods.
- If you need to simulate alert conditions during tests, you can have a team member or yourself pretend to be the computer and “beep” at your test subject or speak alert text aloud.
Iterate your paper prototype based on feedback, and test the new version with more users. Repeat as necessary.
Explore More Resources
- Usability Body of Knowledge: Usability Body of Knowledge: Paper Prototyping
- Paper Prototyping: Paper Prototyping by Carolyn Snyder Link Incorrect
- A List Apart: Paper Prototyping by Shawn Medero
- Wikipedia: Paper Prototyping
- Snyder Consulting: Paper Prototyping Link Incorrect
- Smashing Magazine: The Skeptic’s Guide to Low-Fidelity Prototyping